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Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice
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The Inaugural RAJU Cohort (2022-2023)

The Fellows in Racial Justice Learning Community | Office of Undergraduate Intellectual Life (OUIL) 


2022-2023 RAJU Student Advisory Board

Cassandra Vega - OUIL Undergraduate Assistant

Cassandra Vega is a Political Science major and Latino & Caribbean Studies minor at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Vega is also in her final year of the Institute for Women's Leadership (IWL) Certificate Program, completing her capstone project "Ambition: Trailblazers on Campus," which highlights women and nonbinary students of color on campus in leadership positions dedicated to community and/or social change. She is part of the 2023 Lloyd C. Gardner cohort, a program focused on policy, social issues, and the role we play in the evolving political landscape. Next semester Vega looks forward to completing her research paper titled Puerto Rico: Statehood or Independence? in 2022, she was accepted into the Eagleton Undergraduate Associates Program, a year and a half long certificate program tackling real-world application of politics and the intricacies of American government.

With ambitions toward law school, Vega has taken advantage of a variety of public policy and law opportunities remotely. Notably, Vega and fellow Douglass students have taken the initiative to start a new community for women interested in law—The Women in Pre-Law Society. Upon graduation, she seeks to help amplify marginalized voices through policy.

Cassandra Vega Headshot

Camila Maria Belliard - OUIL Graduate Assistant

Camila María Belliard is a feminist, antiracist and decolonial researcher with a background in social anthropology. Her professional experience has centered on marginalized women and black communities in South America and the Caribbean from the perspective of transnational gender and sexuality studies grounded in the social sciences and the humanities.

She was awarded an International Fulbright Scholar Fellowship and is a Ph.D. candidate in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers-New Brunswick. Camila started her Gender Studies research at the University of Chile, working on various research projects focusing on rural women’s genealogies and heritage and health. In 2013 she joined a research project around anti-black racism against migrants in Chile, where she researched the intersections of gender, sexuality, and race in the experience of black Caribbean migrants. Her work substantively contributed to the study of processes of racialization between Chileans and the Afro-Caribbean immigrant communities.

In the Dominican Republic, her work has included research and intervention in the areas of gender, education, and development, health in marginalized black and migrant communities, and Dominican-Haitian heritage,  sexual reproductive rights, amongst others. Her dissertation follows the life histories of Trans and Black women and their experiences of gendered and racial violence in the southeastern cane sugar and tourist provinces of San Pedro de Macoris and La Romana.

In addition to her dissertation work, she has continued to collaborate with academic and nonprofit institutions in the DR such as OBMICA, CEG-INTEC, INSALUD and UNICEF.

Camilia Maria Belliard Headshot

Mamadee Keita

Mamadee is a junior in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers-Newark, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies and a concentration in Social Justice within the Humanities pathway.

He is currently a research assistant in the Boxer Lab at Rutgers University Newark, which studies community violence and coping styles. He is also a teaching assistant in the Department of Psychology. He teaches his own weekly recitation class, and separately also teaches code and computer science courses at Boys and Girls Clubs across Newark in partnership with 4-H and Apple.

Mamadee plans to earn his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and has focused his research on police violence against the Black, Brown, and queer communities. He is studying pathways to begin decolonizing psychology and incorporate frameworks such as intersectionality and critical race theory into the field.

Mamadee Keita Headshot

Pariti Sutaria

Pariti is a fourth-year student, pursuing her degree in Management with a minor in Statistics and Leadership at Rutgers-Camden. She is also enrolled as a dual-degree MBA program candidate at the Rutgers School of Business. Pariti is the President of TEDx Rutgers-Camden which brings annual TEDx Talk Conferences to Camden in order to share 'ideas worth spreading' within the local community and beyond.

On campus, she is the GAO Chairperson in the Student Governing Association and works as a Communications Assistant at the Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs. As an immigrant and first-generation student, Pariti is passionate about advocacy and activism, especially for gender equity, anticolonialism, and racial justice. In her free time, Pariti is a mehndi/henna artist who loves designing and doing traditional hand art.

Pariti Sutaria Headshot

Rebecca Jolius

Rebecca Jolius is a sophomore at Rutgers-New Brunswick, pursuing a degree in Political Science and History with a minor in Spanish. She is a member of the Honors College, serving as a live-in residence mentor to freshmen. As a mentor, Rebecca helps to ease the transition of new students to university life, assisting with academic, social, and emotional issues. She also plans 3-4 events a semester for the entire Honors College community, focusing on personal wellness and socially responsible leadership.

Rebecca prioritizes her commitment to serving the Black community and Rutgers at large through multiple avenues. She works at the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, a center dedicated to serving the community of the African diaspora. By planning and executing a multitude of events aimed at the Black community, whether they are based on Black wellness and joy, or serious topics such as politics and mental health, she works to create a safe space for her community. 

Rebecca Jolius

Samuel D. Quiles

Samuel (Sammy) Quiles is a Criminal Justice major at Rutgers-Newark where he is currently just seven credits shy of graduating. His passion for global and racial justice originates from the fact that he has a multitude of identities that have long been marginalized by the dominant group. He is Puerto Rican, comes from an urban dilapidated community, and is a convicted felon. His existential experiences have allowed him to empathize with the downtrodden and have brought about his fervent commitment to activism in seeking true acceptance, inclusion, justice, equality, peace, progress, and prosperity for all. 

His proudest work in activism and social justice thus far has been through the New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons (NJ STEP) program. The program operates inside five New Jersey prisons and offers 2-year and 4-year college or graduate programs to incarcerated individuals and then continues to provide support upon their release. He is a product of this transformative education program: he entered the carceral space at the age of 17 as a high school dropout and a living example of the school-to-prison pipeline. Prior to the inception of NJ STEP, he was warehoused in a maximum-security prison where a GED was the extent of his academic ambitions. He is a living example of the possibilities available to the marginalized when equipped with adequate educational resources, and when surrounded by a community of support. He seeks to replicate these opportunities for all and, more importantly, make it the norm rather than the exception.



Samuel Quiles Image

Titilayo Afolabi

Born and raised in Newark, Titilayo Afolabi is a senior at Rutgers-Newark with a major in Political Science, a minor in Women’s and Gender studies, and a concentration in social justice through the Honors Living-Learning Community. She is currently a student journalist and Copy Editor for her school’s paper, The Observer, writing primarily on political issues. She is a member of the Bold Women’s Leadership Network, a pioneering program cultivating courageous leadership in young women during their collegiate education, college years, and beyond. She is also a Policy Intern for Council President and Councilwoman LaMonica McIver of the Central Ward of Newark, working to meet the constituents' needs. 

Beyond the classroom and the community, she is working on research projects and writings related to Black feminism and acknowledging the labor of Black women's intellect in academia. She plans to get her Ph.D. in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, or Black Studies upon graduation.

Titilayo Afolabi Headshot
Cassandra Vega Headshot
Camilia Maria Belliard Headshot
Mamadee Keita Headshot
Pariti Sutaria Headshot
Rebecca Jolius
Samuel Quiles Image
Titilayo Afolabi Headshot

Racial Justice (RAJU) Fellows, Inaugural Cohort, 2022-2023

Tonanziht Aguas

Tonanziht Aguas (RU-Newark)

Tonanziht Aguas is a senior majoring in Economics and Political Science at Rutgers-Newark. She is a member of the RU-N Honors College and a BOLD Women’s Leadership Network Scholar. Tonanziht identifies as a first-generation student of color, a detribalized woman, and the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants. Tonanziht is passionate about education, particularly access to and quality of education for students from BIPOC communities.

Anya Dillard Photo

Anya Dillard (RU-Newark)

Anya Dillard is an activist, social entrepreneur, and content creator that’s been disrupting narratives. She is also the founder of The Next Gen Come Up – encouraging youth to explore activism, pursue community service, and raise awareness through creative expression. Anya has pioneered by utilizing her platform as a model and content creator to teach young girls around the world about the importance of representation and leadership. Her work has been featured by publications including The Washington Post, CNN, Elle, etc.

Samuel Olivencia

Samuel Olivencia (RU-Newark)

Samuel Olivencia is a junior majoring in Public and Nonprofit Administration with a minor in Social Justice as part of the HLLC at Rutgers Newark. They are an award-winning community service leader with their alma mater, Bergen Community College. They hold Puerto Rico and the fight for equity on all fronts for the island very near to their heart. They want to decolonize the language around the island and usher in a new era of autonomy and self-sustaining infrastructure. 

Isela Coyoteatl Ricoy

Isela Estefany Coyotecatl Ricoy (RU-Newark) 

Isela Estefany Coyotecatl Ricoy majors in Sociology with a double minor in the Honors Learning Living Community Program (HLLC) in Social Justice and Legal Studies. After graduation, Isela plans to go to law school and practice immigration and civil law to defend immigrants' constitutional rights and provide pathways to citizenship. Isela's passion for racial justice work stems from her everyday encounter with minorities and the inadequate lack of resources available.  

Safanya N. Searcy

Safanya Nicole Searcy (RU-Newark) 

Safanya Nicole Searcy is a transfer student in the Honors Living Learning Community (HLLC), majoring in Justice Studies at Rutgers-Newark. A proud born and raised Newarker, Safanya is a collaborative, creative and strategic leader with a 20 year career that spans the gamut of leadership, public service, politics, organizing and activism. Safanya made a decision to change her academic trajectory and professional scope in pursuit of her passion for transforming systems to becoming anti-racist.


Saysha Gonzalez (RU-NB)

Saysha Gonzalez majors in Political Science and minors in Environmental Studies at Rutgers-New Brunswick. Her interest and passion for racial justice work stems from being raised in a predominantly Latinx community, where a majority of the citizens are non-English speaking immigrants who have received little to no education, make low-incomes, and have access to very few resources. She hopes to work with overburdened communities, educating them on environmental justice and fighting for their rights.

Nashmah Mamoon

Nashmah Mamoon (RU-NB)

Nashmah Mamoon is a junior majoring in Cell Biology and Neuroscience on the pre-dental track at Rutgers-New Brunswick. She founded an International Club at her high school which sought to promote inclusivity and a safe space to learn about other cultures at school. Her main interest is learning about the racial history behind South Asian struggles.

Nova Okwei

Nova Okwei (RU-NB) 

Nova Okwei's intended major is Psychology and intended minor is Religious Studies at Rutgers-New Brunswick. Her interests in racial justice are focused on promoting education and resistance in a white-supremacist, slave based economy society.  She's also passionate about creating a safe space for people in intersecting marginalized identities.  

Chloe Smith Headshot

Chloe Smith (RU-NB)

Chloe Smith majors in Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior with a Sustainability minor at Rutgers-New Brunswick. She has limited experience in activism but she wants to get more involved so that she can stand up for the people in her community. She knows how important it is to utilize your voice and truly speak out on core beliefs. She also is very passionate about environmental justice and wants to make a difference, to make the world better for her community and other marginalized people. 

Nonny Maphoka Mbathane

Nonny Maphoka Mbathane (RU-CMD) 

Nonny Maphoka Mbathane is an international student and a rising junior, majoring in Psychology and Gender Studies and minoring in Childhood Studies at Rutgers-Camden. Being in a Black Queer body is what fuels her interest in social and racial justice work.  She has worked with Black youth in South Africa throughout her years in volunteering areas and passion projects.

Quincy Wansel

Quincy Wansel (RU-CMD)

Quincy Wansel is a senior at Rutgers-Camden pursuing an Africana Studies major and double minor in Museum Studies and English. Quincy received the Outstanding Contribution to Africana Studies Award from Rutgers Camden. Quincy is an undergraduate campus intern for the Rutgers One Coalition and former facilitator of The Inclusion Project. Quincy is the Program Assistant at the Alice Paul Institute. One of Quincy’s biggest dedications is highlighting the experiences of Black youth and helping them discover their own voices.

Ka’Mari Williams

Ka’Mari Williams (RU-CMD)

Ka’Mari Williams is a junior, double majoring in Biology and Criminal Justice with a minor in Forensic Science. She began doing racial justice work at the age of 14 when she took part in two organizations known as R.O.O.T.S. (Rising Over Oppression Through Solidarity) and S.T.A.R. (Strong Teens Against Racism). She has also worked alongside her church community with BLM and the city of Summit in combatting racism. She hopes different communities can uncover biases and learn to work together to create equality for all.